(from Venues Today, September 24, 2013) The Centennial Olympic Park was built in 1996 as the center piece of the Olympic games, it’s 21 acres of green space located in the heart of downtown Atlanta. There have been no changes to the business model of the park since it was established, but soon Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park will be positioned to host more concerts and ticketed events.
In the last several years, the park has added growth to the downtown area by attracting businesses, hotels, and restaurants. This expansion has resulted in questioning of the parks business model. Hosting profitable events will create a way for the park to be financially self-sufficient. The goal is to hold one big concert or festival a month from April to September to produce enough money to pay for the free events.
The board of directors have implemented events considered tests to examine the parks ability to be independent. The first one was a one day festival, Party in the Park, and the second was a Mumford and Sons concert. The festival attracted 9,000 people it’s first year and 12,000 the next. With tickets selling from $35 to $115, the park expected to lose money the first year, breakeven the second year and create profit the third year. Joe Skopitz, the park’s assistant general manager, claims, “Although we lost money the first year, the second fest put $55,000 in our pockets. Now we know this is a model that can sustain itself.”
On September 10th Mumford and Sons performed a sold out show; there was a fan count of 22,000 and tickets sold for $49.99. This accomplishment has lead to consideration of expanding the park to increase flexibility for more types of events. Julia Karrenbauer, director of business development says, “There’s a lot we can do, but it’s about finding the right mix and what’s best suited for the space and community.” The managers have been receiving a lot of calls, but often requests are for dates already scheduled. While the new goal may be to hold big events, the free events are of equal importance to the directors who are looking for a balance.